OPTIMIZE YOUR IMMUNITY TO FIGHT COVID-19

AMEN adheres to a biblical model of health. The Bible says our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Because of this, even if for no other reason, it is important that we take care of our bodies.

We believe in a holistic view of life and health in which all dimensions – physical, mental, emotional, social-relational, spiritual, and environmental – are optimized.

Our everyday wellbeing can be enhanced by living in harmony with God’s will for each of us.  This includes our physical behaviors and habits, our environmental exposures, our relationships with others, as well as our belief in God and faith in His gift of salvation.

“… your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit…you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”   – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Three Lines of Defense

COVID-19 is an intruder. It did not announce its arrival nor did it come with management instructions. COVID-19 has resisted treatment, precipitated death, and sometimes carries on its mercenary work for months following initial infection. There are three lines of defense that can be used against COVID-19 in its various stages.

  1. Pre-COVID-19: Public Health measures – reduce transmission of the disease from one person to another through means such as masks, social distancing, and vaccine development. Public health efforts function like a home security system to keep the enemy out.
  2. Pre- and Early-stage COVID-19: Immune Enhancement – includes all the things you can do to keep yourself and your immune system healthy and bolster your body’s defenses against the virus in its early phase.
  3. Late-stage COVID-19: Medical Intervention – supports patients who are sick enough to be hospitalized due to COVID-19. Advanced medical care attempts to undo damage once the intruder has ransacked the house.

The most formidable defense of all is the body’s innate immune system. It functions like an internal armed security force. Everyone has one. It just needs to be activated.

 

Nature’s Immune Builders Tells You How

Since the best defense is a good offense, it’s important to keep your immune system as strong as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic — as well as anytime viruses are in season. Incorporating these immune-strengthening suggestions will not guarantee that you won’t get sick but may reduce your risk of falling ill or may minimize the impact of the virus. Here are some important things you can do daily to help strengthen your immune system.

Please note: The information presented here does not replace public health or acute care management strategies, but can be used alongside these approaches to enhance the body’s ability to stay well and fight disease.

 

Topics Covered

Sunlight and Vitamin D – Vitamin D plays a critical role in supporting the body’s immune function. In fact, many studies show a correlation between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of death from COVID-19. Learn more about how to fight disease with vitamin D.

Sleep – Getting enough sleep is vital to optimal health. Losing even an hour of sleep reduces the effectiveness of your immune system by up to 50%. Learn more about how to get a good night’s sleep and fight disease with adequate rest.

Hydrotherapy – Using water to do hot and cold treatments increases blood circulation, boosts the immune system, and helps speed healing. Learn how to fight disease with simple, safe water treatments that can be done at home.

Stress – High levels of chronic stress suppress the immune system and place you at increased risk of contracting viral illnesses such as the cold or flu and likely COVID-19 as well. Stress cannot be avoided completely but there are strategies to help you cope. Learn tips to find peace in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Underlying Conditions – Obesity and diabetes are chronic diseases that increase your risk of severe complications and death from COVID-19. Learn how to reverse these conditions through a healthy lifestyle that includes outdoor exercise and eating a plant-based diet.

Natural Substances – Scientists are always looking for naturally occurring substances and their beneficial effect on man. Learn about how eucalyptus oil can enhance your immune system.

Water – Water is essential to keep your immune system working optimally. Water is a universal cleansing and hydrating agent.

Exercise – Our bodies are designed to move.  Exercise evens the circulation and enhances the immune system.

Healthful Eating – Have you heard the expression ‘we are what we eat’?  That is actually not far off.  Good nutrition is essential to optimal immune function.  Learn how eating whole plant foods can help avoid chronic disease.

Fasting – Short periods of fasting (complete abstinence from food) reduce inflammation in the body, improving the immune system’s function.  Learn how intermittent fasting on a regular basis aids not only in immune function but in increased mental alertness, weight loss, and reversal of diabetes.

Harmful Substances – Smoking, Alcohol, and Caffeine are harmful addictive substances. Learn how they weaken the body’s immune response and may increase the severity of COVID-19.

Social Support and Faith – We are designed as social beings.  We all long for human connections.  Learn how people who worship together, pray together, and support each other in communities of faith experience greater life satisfaction and lower all-cause mortality than those who don’t.

Supplements – Ideally, whole plant-based food provides us with the vitamins and minerals our bodies need but sometimes we may need an extra boost.  Learn about supplements that may help fight COVID-19.

SUNLIGHT and VITAMIN D

What is vitamin D and why is it important?

Vitamin D plays many important roles in the body.  It is actually a hormone, not a vitamin.  Most people know that vitamin D helps build strong and healthy bones.  However, vitamin D also plays a critical role in supporting the body’s immune function.   

Many studies show a correlation between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of death from COVID-19.  Other research has shown that supplementation with vitamin D not only reduces the risk of acute chest infections but also increases COVID-19 survival rates.

 

How do we get Vitamin D?

  1. Sunlight  
  2. Supplementation

Sunlight 

Your body produces vitamin D naturally when your skin is exposed to bright sunlight. 

Sunlight not only produces vitamin D naturally which boosts your immune system, it also energizes the body’s T cells that play a vital role in immunity. Spending time in the sun during the day can improve your sleep at night and improve your immune system’s resilience.

Recommendation: Aim for 10-20 minutes of sunlight daily. Don’t overdo it and get a sunburn. 

So when was the last time that you went into the sun? Is most of your day spent indoors? So long as there is no contraindication to doing so, getting out into the sun can be very helpful and improve your health.

How do I know if I should take a Vitamin D Supplement?

We encourage you to have your vitamin D level checked by your physician.  The normal range for vitamin D blood levels varies but is generally 30 to 100 ng/dl.  

Vitamin D deficiency is defined as a blood level less than 20ng/dl but levels less than 40 are associated with increased risk for getting COVID, having more serious symptoms, ending up in the hospital, requiring critical care support, needing a ventilator and dying from COVID.

The minimum vitamin D level for protection from COVID is 40+ ng/dl but we recommend a blood level between 50 -75 ng/dl for optimal benefit.

Because vitamin D is fat-soluble you can get too much.  Data indicates that complications occur with blood levels of 100 ng/dl and higher.  Therefore, we do not recommend you take high doses without knowing your blood level and consulting with your physician.

Ask your doctor if your vitamin D level should be checked and see about supplementing it if needed.

How much Vitamin D should I take?

The best way to know if you should take a vitamin D supplement is to have your blood checked and base your need for supplementation on those results as explained above.  However, with the protective effect of vitamin D for COVID-19, you may want to begin supplementation right away, especially in the wintertime.

Suggested Dose: Consider vitamin D supplementation of 1,000-5,000 IU daily. Unless contraindicated, a dose of up to 5,000 IU/day is safe for most people.   

Age Dose          
 0-6 m  1000 IU/d
 6m-1y  1500 IU/d
 1y-3y  2500 IU/d
 4y-8y  3000 IU/d
 8y+  4000-5000 IU/d


Does it matter what kind of Vitamin D supplement I take?

Vitamin D3 is readily available and is effective regardless of whether you take it in liquid, capsule or chewable forms.  

Would you like to learn more?
Click below to watch “Delving Deeper: Vitamin D”

Vitamin D References

Vitamin D References:

MacLaughlin J, Holick MF. Aging decreases the capacity of human skin to produce vitamin D3. J Clin Invest. 1985 Oct;76(4):1536-8. doi: 10.1172/JCI112134. PMID: 2997282; PMCID: PMC424123.
 
Gutiérrez OM, Farwell WR, Kermah D, Taylor EN. Racial differences in the relationship between vitamin D, bone mineral density, and parathyroid hormone in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Osteoporos Int. 2011;22(6):1745-1753. doi:10.1007/s00198-010-1383-2
 
Jacobo Wortsman, Lois Y Matsuoka, Tai C Chen, Zhiren Lu, Michael F Holick, Decreased bioavailability of vitamin D in obesity, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 72, Issue 3, September 2000, Pages 690–693, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/72.3.690
 
Brenner H, Holleczek B, Schöttker B. Vitamin D Insufficiency and Deficiency and Mortality from Respiratory Diseases in a Cohort of Older Adults: Potential for Limiting the Death Toll during and beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic? Nutrients. 2020; 12(8):2488.
 
Martineau Adrian R, Jolliffe David A, Hooper Richard L, Greenberg Lauren, Aloia John F, Bergman Peter et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data BMJ 2017; 356 :i6583
 
Urashima M, Segawa T, Okazaki M, Kurihara M, Wada Y, Ida H. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 May;91(5):1255-60. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.29094. Epub 2010 Mar 10. PMID: 20219962.
 
McCartney, D.M., O’Shea, P.M., Faul, J.L. et al. Vitamin D and SARS-CoV-2 infection—evolution of evidence supporting clinical practice and policy development. Ir J Med Sci (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11845-020-02427-9
 
Williamson, E.J., Walker, A.J., Bhaskaran, K. et al. Factors associated with COVID-19-related death using OpenSAFELY. Nature 584, 430–436 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2521-4
 
Rhodes JM, Subramanian S, Laird E, Kenny RA. Editorial: low population mortality from COVID-19 in countries south of latitude 35 degrees North supports vitamin D as a factor determining severity. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2020 Jun;51(12):1434-1437. doi: 10.1111/apt.15777. Epub 2020 Apr 28. PMID: 32311755; PMCID: PMC7264531.
 
Ilie PC, Stefanescu S, Smith L. The role of vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 infection and mortality. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2020;32(7):1195-1198. doi:10.1007/s40520-020-01570-8
 
D’Avolio A, Avataneo V, Manca A, Cusato J, De Nicolò A, Lucchini R, Keller F, Cantù M. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations Are Lower in Patients with Positive PCR for SARS-CoV-2. Nutrients. 2020; 12(5):1359.
 
Smolders J, van den Ouweland J, Geven C, Pickkers P, Kox M. Letter to the Editor: Vitamin D deficiency in COVID-19: Mixing up cause and consequence. Metabolism. 2021;115:154434. doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2020.154434
 
Merzon E, Tworowski D, Gorohovski A, Vinker S, Golan Cohen A, Green I, Frenkel-Morgenstern M. Low plasma 25(OH) vitamin D level is associated with increased risk of COVID-19 infection: an Israeli population-based study. FEBS J. 2020 Sep;287(17):3693-3702. doi: 10.1111/febs.15495. Epub 2020 Aug 28. PMID: 32700398; PMCID: PMC7404739.
 
The link between vitamin D deficiency and Covid-19 in a large population
Ariel Israel, Assi Albert Cicurel, Ilan Feldhamer, Yosef Dror, Shmuel M Giveon, David Gillis, David Strich, Gil Lavie
medRxiv 2020.09.04.20188268; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.09.04.20188268
 
Kaufman HW, Niles JK, Kroll MH, Bi C, Holick MF (2020) SARS-CoV-2 positivity rates associated with circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. PLoS ONE 15(9): e0239252. https://doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pone.0239252
 
Baktash V, Hosack T, Patel N, et al. Vitamin D status and outcomes for hospitalised older patients with COVID-19 [published online ahead of print, 2020 Aug 27]. Postgrad Med J. 2020;postgradmedj-2020-138712. doi:10.1136/postgradmedj-2020-138712
 
Radujkovic A, Hippchen T, Tiwari-Heckler S, Dreher S, Boxberger M, Merle U. Vitamin D Deficiency and Outcome of COVID-19 Patients. Nutrients. 2020; 12(9):2757.
 
Entrenas Castillo M, Entrenas Costa LM, Vaquero Barrios JM, et al. “Effect of calcifediol treatment and best available therapy versus best available therapy on intensive care unit admission and mortality among patients hospitalized for COVID-19: A pilot randomized clinical study”. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2020;203:105751. doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2020.105751
 
Annweiler C, Hanotte B, Grandin de l’Eprevier C, Sabatier JM, Lafaie L, Célarier T. Vitamin D and survival in COVID-19 patients: A quasi-experimental study. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2020;204:105771. doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2020.105771
 
Effect of Vitamin D3 Supplementation vs Placebo on Hospital Length of Stay in Patients with Severe COVID-19: A Multicenter, Double-blind, Randomized Controlled Trial
Igor H. Murai, Alan L. Fernandes, Lucas P. Sales, Ana J. Pinto, Karla F. Goessler, Camila S. C. Duran, Carla B. R. Silva, André S. Franco, Marina B. Macedo, Henrique H. H. Dalmolin, Janaina Baggio, Guilherme G. M. Balbi, Bruna Z. Reis, Leila Antonangelo, Valeria F. Caparbo, Bruno Gualano, Rosa M. R. Pereira
medRxiv 2020.11.16.20232397; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.11.16.20232397
 
Rastogi A, Bhansali A, Khare N, et al
Short term, high-dose vitamin D supplementation for COVID-19 disease: a randomised, placebo-controlled, study (SHADE study)
Postgraduate Medical Journal Published Online First: 12 November 2020. doi: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2020-139065


 
Meltzer DO, Best TJ, Zhang H, Vokes T, Arora V, Solway J. Association of Vitamin D Status and Other Clinical Characteristics With COVID-19 Test Results. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(9):e2019722. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.19722
 
Michael F. Holick, Neil C. Binkley, Heike A. Bischoff-Ferrari, Catherine M. Gordon, David A. Hanley, Robert P. Heaney, M. Hassan Murad, Connie M. Weaver, Evaluation, Treatment, and Prevention of Vitamin D Deficiency: an Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 96, Issue 7, 1 July 2011, Pages 1911–1930, https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2011-0385
 
Itkonen ST, Erkkola M, Lamberg-Allardt CJE. Vitamin D Fortification of Fluid Milk Products and Their Contribution to Vitamin D Intake and Vitamin D Status in Observational Studies-A Review. Nutrients. 2018;10(8):1054. Published 2018 Aug 9. doi:10.3390/nu10081054
 
Jain, A., Chaurasia, R., Sengar, N.S. et al. Analysis of vitamin D level among asymptomatic and critically ill COVID-19 patients and its correlation with inflammatory markers. Sci Rep 10, 20191 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-77093-z

SLEEP

SLEEP – Getting regular sleep and enough of it powerfully boosts your body’s ability to fight disease.

Get Enough. Adults need 7-9 hours each night; children and teens need more.  The hours of sleep before midnight are the most beneficial.

Avoid These. Reduce stress, screen time and bright light exposure one hour before bedtime.

Would you like to learn more?
Click below to watch “Delving Deeper: Sleep”

Stress

STRESS – One of life’s great immune suppressors is stress. How do you avoid stress?  You can’t.  However, we can work to eliminate non-essential stressors and cultivate a trusting, cheerful spirit.

Move. Walking outside in nature is calming. Spend at least 20 minutes outdoors every day.

Breathe. Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth. Deep breaths energize every cell in your body.

Be Grateful. “In all things give thanks.” Cultivate “an attitude of gratitude”. Feelings of gratefulness increase the number of protective antibodies you have.  

Would you like to learn more?
Click below to watch “Delving Deeper: Stress”

NATURAL SUBSTANCES

NATURAL SUBSTANCES – Many types of trees give off life-giving, immune building substances. Eucalyptus oil activates the immune system to eat and clear foreign substances from the body.          

Trees. Walk outside in fresh air and breathe in the life-giving properties of trees.

Inhale. Soak your feet in a basin of warm water with several drops of eucalyptus oil (or fresh eucalyptus leaves) or use a diffuser. Inhale the air.

Would you like to learn more?
Click below to watch “Delving Deeper: Natural Substances”

SOCIAL SUPPORT and FAITH

SOCIAL SUPPORT and FAITH – People who worship together, pray together, and support each other in communities of faith experience greater life satisfaction and lower all-cause mortality than those who don’t. 

Connect. Stay in touch with friends and family. Write, call, video chat, or meet up for an invigorating walk outside.  Watch for people that are lonely and reach out to them. 

Prayer. “Pray without ceasing.” You can talk with God anytime, anywhere.

Fear Not. “Be not afraid.” God loves you. No emergency catches Him by surprise.

Find. Read your Bible and discover more life-giving principles to live by. Share what you learn. 

Worship.  “As His custom was, [Jesus] went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day.”   When possible, make weekly church attendance a priority. Join a small group Bible study.

AMEN members believe that human beings were created by a loving God to experience life at its best. Optimum health is achieved when we care for the whole person, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. For this reason we encourage you to explore the spiritual dimension of life more deeply through the Search for Certainty Bible Guides written by Pastor Mark Finley, our AMEN advisor. The Search for Certainty Bible Guides will answer your deepest questions directly from the ancient scriptures. Click here to enroll in this free online Bible study series.   

If you would like to connect with a local Seventh-day Adventist church, or simply have questions, please feel free to contact us at bible@amensda.org

HYDROTHERAPY

HYDROTHERAPY – Water is a potent purifier. Simple moist heat application followed by cold can be effective in enhancing the immune system.

Contrast. Take a hot and cold shower daily. Start with hot water for 5 minutes followed by cold for 30-60 seconds. For an extra boost, repeat up to three times (see video).

Foot Bath. Take a hot foot bath and finish with cold water (see video).

When sick. Do a chest treatment using hot fomentations (see video).

Hot Fomentations

Contrast Shower

Foot Bath

Would you like to learn more?
Click below to watch “Delving Deeper: Hydrotherapy”

The views expressed by the authors on this site are the views of each individual and do not necessarily represent the views of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The information provided is not intended to replace or to be applied as definitive treatment. Please consult with your regular healthcare provider regarding your personal diagnosis, treatment and care.